About Design Impact

Design Impact is a 501(c)3 social innovation consultancy. We use co-design to help partners solve problems and drive social change more inclusively and effectively. We work with nonprofits, grantmakers, government agencies, educational, cultural, and arts institutions, hospitals, and community groups across the country.

Our Approach

Co-design is an approach to problem-solving that strives to actively and equally involve all impacted communities in the design process.

A graphic of Design Impact's co-design process

This collaborative design process ensures our results reflect what impacted groups want and need. 

Theory of Change

Our work is rooted in our belief that sustainable social change lies at the intersection of creativity, equity, and leadership. This unique combination of perspectives is highly effective in empowering individuals and teams to develop innovative, collaborative, and inclusive practices in their work.

Think and solve differently.

We apply a wide variety of innovation methods that are strategic and human-centered.

Include, elevate, and share power with people most impacted by inequity.

We co-create from an intersectional racial justice lens.

Build leaders who value creativity and inclusion.

We develop leaders that embrace a learning mindset, share ownership, and drive connection.



We work with grantmakers, nonprofits (including schools and hospitals), government agencies, and community groups to tackle complex challenges. Our approach is rooted in social justice and human-centered design so that the people most affected by inequity are involved in all steps of the problem-solving process. We also draw inspiration from social change, innovation, and organizational development. We work with partners in four different ways: community-centered design, team-based learningorganizational change, and systems change.

Community-Centered Design


Explore the problem you’re stuck on. It’s hands-on, and sometimes it’s messy, but we’ll be with you every step of the way. Whether it’s a short project or an extensive undertaking, together we’ll explore the issue from all perspectives, and develop ways to address it.



•  Empathy-driven qualitative research
•  Ethnography
•  Community engagement
•  Divergent idea generation
•  Prototype coaching, implementation, and evaluation

Team-Based Learning


Equip leaders with social innovation tools. Think of our programs as BYOC (Bring Your Own Challenge): we provide the structure, tools, and guidance to think differently about your problem. We borrow best practices from innovation, social change, and leadership, but no program looks the same.



•  Program design and facilitation
•  “Train the Trainer” models
•  Capacity building
•  Curriculum development

Organizational Change


Re-envision your organization. Oftentimes social change has just as much to do with external forces as it does with our own organizational structures, mindsets, and teams. We’ll introduce you to creative and inclusive strategies so you can change culture, collaborate across difference, take smarter risks, and try new ideas.



•  Organizational development
•  Process design and facilitation
•  Inclusive Strategy Development
•  Team building

Systems Change


Coordinate impact. If we want to create systems change, we know it takes collective action across sectors. With you and your partners, we’ll map the landscape, push the conversation, increase adaptive capacity, and design around the roadblocks. We’ll customize the process and facilitation to increase stakeholder engagement, reduce system complexity, and improve outcomes for your clients.



•  Network Building
•  Systems-level Strategy
•  Policy Co-creation
•  System Mapping


Design Impact (DI) was founded in 2009 by Kate Hanisian and Ramsey Ford at the intersection of design and social change. As a learning organization, we’ve iterated on our model over the years so that our work is as thoughtful, sustainable, and impactful as possible. Browse the slideshow below to see one highlight from each of our first 10 years and learn more about the evolving nature of our work.